There is no evidence that the chancellor's u-turn will increase housing supply
More than 200 businesses have signed an open letter today urging George Osborne to reconsider his plans to scrap zero carbon homes. As part of his productivity plan ‘Fixing the Foundations'(p.46) released earlier this month, the chancellor stated that:
“The government does not intend to proceed with the zero carbon Allowable Solutions carbon offsetting scheme, or the proposed 2016 increase in on-site energy efficiency standards, but will keep energy efficiency standards under review, recognising that existing measures to increase energy efficiency of new buildings should be allowed time to become established.”
The policy had been designed to ensure that all new homes built from 2016 meet zero carbon standards – meaning a home must generate all its energy without adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
Today the leaders of 246 organisations have written to the chancellor expressing their dismay at his decision. They write:
“There was a broad consensus in support of the zero carbon policy, which was designed to give industry the confidence it needs to invest and innovate, in order to drive higher energy efficiency standards and low carbon energy solutions.
“Abandoning the zero carbon policy will have regressive impacts and be harmful to British industry.”
“The weakening of standards will mean our future homes, offices, schools and factories will be more costly to run, locking future residents and building users into higher energy bills.
“It also runs counter to advice from the Committee on Climate Change, impeding our ability to meet our statutory carbon targets cost-effectively at a time when we should be showing international leadership on this issue.”
Signatories of the letter include the British Property Federation, Green Alliance, Low Carbon Trust, Passivhaus Trust and UCL Energy Institute. They emphasise that scrapping the policy will not increase housing supply or boost productivity.
Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on TwitterLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.